This year, influenza (flu) has hit New York (and the rest of the nation) particularly hard. This month alone, the NYC Health Department has already confirmed four influenza-related pediatric deaths.
While February is peak flu season, it is far from over. It is not too late to take action. There are a few things you can do to keep yourself and others from getting sick.
Know the Symptoms
The flu is a respiratory infection that spreads easily to others. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, headaches, body aches, and weakness.
Stop the Spread of Germs
This may seem impossible living in one of the busiest cities in the world, but even New Yorkers can take steps to prevent the spread of the flu. Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands. Most of all, if you begin to experience flu symptoms–STAY HOME.
When to See a Doctor
Some people are more likely to become very sick with the flu. Call your doctor if you have a fever with cough or sore throat, and you have diabetes, heart disease, a weakened immune system or other chronic health condition, or if you are in one of these groups.
This is the most important step in protecting yourself against flu viruses. Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine. This is especially important for children younger than 5 (especially those under 2), adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and residents of nursing homes and other group care facilities.
The vaccine is still available. To find a vaccine, New Yorkers can call 311, visit nyc.gov/flu for the Flu Vaccine Locator or text “flu” to 877877.